Mutation analysis of the X-chromosome linked, testis-specific TAF7L gene in spermatogenic failure

Andrologia. 2007 Oct;39(5):190-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0272.2007.00789.x.


The precise temporal and spatial expressions of specific transcription regulation factors (TRF) have long been considered essential for spermatogenesis. Recently, it has been speculated that mammals have evolved more specialised TRF genes. In the human, the TAF7L gene may be essential for maintenance of spermatogenesis. In this study, we investigated the possible role of the TAF7L gene located on the X chromosome in testicular function and spermatogenic failure. In a case-controlled retrospective study, we recruited 16 infertile males with consistent, nonobstructive azoospermia and with normal serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. Twenty age-matched men with normal spermatogenesis with the same ethnic background (Caucasian) were recruited as controls. Their genomic DNA was screened for sequence changes in the coding regions and part of the flanking introns of the TAF7L gene by direct sequencing. Amino acid sequence was compared with the NCBI standard sequence (BC043391). Semen analysis and hormone evaluation were performed. We observed six sequence variations in four patients, consisting of two point mutations, one each in exon 9 and 13 and one six-basepair deletion in exon 13 with concomitant changes in amino acid. One additional nucleotide exchange was observed in intron 8. Most of these changes were also found in eight controls with the exception of changes in exon 13. A meta-analysis including the present study and literature data suggests a possible association of the point mutation in exon 13 with infertility. There was no association or relationship with reproductive hormones. In conclusion, the sequence variants in the cDNA sequence observed are common polymorphisms. The changes in intron 8 appear novel. We report for the first time that most of the alterations are not associated with gonadal dysfunction, while the sequence variant in exon 13 may represent a risk factor for spermatogenic failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Azoospermia / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Exons / genetics
  • Genes, X-Linked / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / genetics
  • Male
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics
  • Protein Subunits / genetics*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • TATA-Binding Protein Associated Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factor TFIID / genetics*


  • Protein Subunits
  • TAF7 protein, human
  • TATA-Binding Protein Associated Factors
  • Transcription Factor TFIID